Anxious and Stressed?

Last Sunday we heard David start out his sermon with a question, “Who of you have had the following in the last 18 months…anxiety, depression, a feeling of being overwhelmed…?” All of us raised a hand.

The last 18 months have been hard on us all.  Some of us have found ways to cope with our feelings and emotions, but all too often, those coping mechanisms seem inadequate against the relentlessness of adjustments we are called upon to make.

It is important that we practice self-care in this time when we feel like we have no or little control over our lives.

Here are some things I found helpful as I have tried to overcome my own feelings of anxiety and inadequateness. I hope you find one or more helpful as well.

  • First thing in the morning, spend time with God. Even sitting in silence with a cup of tea/coffee and taking in the presence of God helps to set the day on the right path.
  • Take moments during the day to breathe intentionally. One minute of controlled breathing 4-5 times a day helps us to relax and, again, connect with the presence of God. As I breathe in, I focus on the breath of God; as I breathe out, I focus on letting all negativity go.
  • Twice a day do this breathing exercise which I found in Metabolic Factor:

The following steps should all be carried out in the cycle of one breath:

First, let your lips part. Make a whooshing sound, exhaling completely through your mouth.

Next, close your lips, inhaling silently through your nose as you count to four in your head.

Then, for seven seconds, hold your breath.

Make another whooshing exhale from your mouth for eight seconds.

When you inhale again, you initiate a new cycle of breath. Practice this pattern for four full breaths.

The held breath (for seven seconds) is the most critical part of this practice. It’s also recommended that you only practice 4-7-8 breathing for four breaths when you’re first starting out. You can gradually work your way up to eight full breaths.

This technique slows down your heart rate, promoting relaxation of the whole body.

  • Take a relaxing bath 5 nights a week, preferably before going to bed. It helps to relax and destress the body. (You could add 2 scoops of Epsom Salts as it has detoxifying properties.)
  • Do some form of exercise for 20-30 minutes a day
  • End your day how you started – in prayer. Remember, your prayers don’t need to be long, they just need to be a genuine conversation with God.
  • Talk to someone about your feelings. Do not bottle them up. My door is open, and I have been known to answer my phone 😊

May God bless us all with peace and calm as we navigate through the new uncertainties we now face.

Pastor Anna